Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Mehdi Daoudi, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Java IoT, Industrial IoT, Machine Learning

Microservices Expo: Blog Feed Post

The Solution Acquisition Architect - Sharding the Procurement

The SA's role is essentially to be the IT architecture, engineering and resource management lead

The role, impact and usefulness of the "Solution Architect" (i.e., "SA" to the "Enterprise Architect" or "System Architect") has been clarifying for several years across the IT Consulting community, particularly given the increasingly complex nature of SOA, Cloud-centric and Multi-Platform solutions required to meet increasingly real-time, agile and resource-constrained business information management requirements. The SA's role is essentially to be the IT architecture, engineering and resource management lead, as an IT solution is first conceived, planned and begins implementation.

Very often, the SA's efforts are initially delivered as part of a proposal - complete with an engineering plan and schedule, high-level system architecture and product list, plus a cost estimate (both labor and direct). This typically assumes the proposals are meeting pre-defined acquisition strategies - i.e. they need to be "Firm Fixed Price", "Cost-Plus", fall as Task Orders under a previously-awarded "IDIQ", etc.

Therefore, the acquisition strategy may in fact be introducing constraints or guidance into proposed solutioning that don't necessary result in the best, most creative and informed solution. The acquisition strategy in effect doesn't result in the very best, informed responses from the IT vendor and consulting community.

Mitigation strategies that government agencies leverage sometimes include early series of "Requests for Information (RFIs)", Industry Days with Q/A sessions, "Draft" RFPs (soliciting feedback before the final is published), Prototype Bake-Offs, etc. There are actually many variations on the theme of soliciting input from the contractor community, in order to produce the most fair, value-add and mission-acceptable RFP. But this is usually after the acquisition strategy has been defined.

In my experience, on both sides of the Federal (and commercial) IT acquisition process (helping to develop and conduct acquisitions, as well as leading responses), a "Solution Acquisition Architect" would be a much-needed addition to the acquisition management team (SAA). This role would essentially operate as a traditional SA, commensurate with IT consulting best practices, but help shape an appropriate acquisition approach (and ultimately the RFP, procurement T&C or contract) in a way that best anticipates the response and capabilities of the IT consulting/vendor community and technology context.

This line of thinking was recently crystallized (to me) after reading the recent FCW Joint Special Report

on the readiness of the Federal Government for procuring cloud services. The series of articles essentially summarize that the Government's current procurement methods, skills and resources aren't yet optimized for obtaining cloud services.

I might go further and posit that the procurement resources aren't only sub-optimal for addressing cloud services, but also for a number of current trends in dealing with information access, visualization and delivery across the traditional firewalls - including SOA integration, open-sourced data visualization and situational awareness, mobile and "big" data management, etc.

One reason the procurement resources are sub-optimal, and tend to result in procurements that are too long, cost-ineffective, too rigid and ultimately not the very best value, is because the role of the Solution Architect isn't standard in designing the acquisition plan and ultimate solicitation. Many times the available technical architects, SMEs, or separately-contracted PMO shops are pressed into service, to generate the RFP language, review the RFIs, confirm the FFP/Single Contract approach.

However, the solution architect-standard methodology and input that might deliver a solicitation (possibly spread among multiple types of awards, and extending or leveraging existing contracts) that is likely to attract the most advanced, real-world experienced thinking and sourcing to the project - simply isn't used.

This of course assumes that there exist Solution Architects and methodology that includes the knowledge of acquisition types, risks, constraints, processes. That's hard to find, especially on the solicitor side of the table. One suggestion might be to establish a program that rotates industry SAs into the Federal Government, for purposes of supporting acquisition strategies, and also to help develop pockets of expertise within the Government procurement community who are aligned with and cognizant of the vendor response communities solution architecture methodologies.

At the end of the day, the right help might be requested in the right manner, from the best available respondents - and maybe the "Cloud Services Procurement" that's been taking 6 months to complete, can be "sharded" more efficiently into reasonable, informed and truly useful procurement options.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Ted McLaughlan

Summary: Currently a Federal Enterprise Architect with Oracle, Ted has over 25 years in Commercial and Government Information Technology with University of Virginia, EDS, Accenture, KME Internet Marketing, Blackstone Technology Group, NavigationArts and CSC; additional focus recently on Interactive Design, Web 2.0 Internet Marketing, SEO, Social Media and Advertising. Specialties: Enterprise Architecture and Information Management, SOA/ESB, Enterprise Integration, Business Intelligence, Internet Safety and Security, Family Content Networks, Knowledge Management and Collaboration, User-Defined Operational Pictures/Common Operating Pictures (UDOP/COP), Situational Awareness, Portals, Internet Marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Website Design/Development and Optimization - Certified Systems Engineer - Certified Enterprise Solution Architect

Microservices Articles
DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term.
Adding public cloud resources to an existing application can be a daunting process. The tools that you currently use to manage the software and hardware outside the cloud aren’t always the best tools to efficiently grow into the cloud. All of the major configuration management tools have cloud orchestration plugins that can be leveraged, but there are also cloud-native tools that can dramatically improve the efficiency of managing your application lifecycle. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, ...
"We do one of the best file systems in the world. We learned how to deal with Big Data many years ago and we implemented this knowledge into our software," explained Jakub Ratajczak, Business Development Manager at MooseFS, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
All zSystem customers have a significant new business opportunity to extend their reach to new customers and markets with new applications and services, and to improve the experience of existing customers. This can be achieved by exposing existing z assets (which have been developed over time) as APIs for accessing Systems of Record, while leveraging mobile and cloud capabilities with new Systems of Engagement applications. In this session, we will explore business drivers with new Node.js apps ...
Digital Transformation is well underway with many applications already on the cloud utilizing agile and devops methodologies. Unfortunately, application security has been an afterthought and data breaches have become a daily occurrence. Security is not one individual or one's team responsibility. Raphael Reich will introduce you to DevSecOps concepts and outline how to seamlessly interweave security principles across your software development lifecycle and application lifecycle management. With ...
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
Two apparently distinct movements are in the process of disrupting the world of enterprise application development: DevOps and Low-Code. DevOps is a cultural and organizational shift that empowers enterprise software teams to deliver better software quicker – in particular, hand-coded software. Low-Code platforms, in contrast, provide a technology platform and visual tooling that empower enterprise software teams to deliver better software quicker -- with little or no hand-coding required. ...
Using new techniques of information modeling, indexing, and processing, new cloud-based systems can support cloud-based workloads previously not possible for high-throughput insurance, banking, and case-based applications. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, John Newton, CTO, Founder and Chairman of Alfresco, described how to scale cloud-based content management repositories to store, manage, and retrieve billions of documents and related information with fast and linear scalability. He addres...
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, discussed how data centers of the future will be managed, how the p...
Containers and Kubernetes allow for code portability across on-premise VMs, bare metal, or multiple cloud provider environments. Yet, despite this portability promise, developers may include configuration and application definitions that constrain or even eliminate application portability. In this session we'll describe best practices for "configuration as code" in a Kubernetes environment. We will demonstrate how a properly constructed containerized app can be deployed to both Amazon and Azure ...